Chalerm orders security beefup for political gathering venues

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BANGKOK, Sept 26 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung on Wednesday instructed Thailand’s national police chief to step up security during the country’s political gatherings following yesterday’s clash between supporters of the red shirt and yellow shirt movements.

The deputy premier reacted after pro-government Red Shirts and rival Yellow Shirt supporters clashed at the Crime Suppression Division on Phahon Yothin Road in Bangkok.

Supporters of the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy gathered there to show their moral support for a former teacher at an international school in Pathum Thani province after key Red Shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) activist Darunee Kritboonyalai filed a defamation lawsuit against her.

As the Yellow Shirts left the police compound, they confronted a group of Red Shirts who followed the case outside the venue. Both sides pelted their rivals with salvos of rhetoric in a war of words, before the yellow shirts physically attacked a red shirt loudspeaker truck. One woman was injured in the skirmishes by both groups.

Mr Chalerm said that such an incident must not be repeated and ordered the police chief to tighten security procedures at venues of political gathering. Group members who arrive later than the first-arriving group will not be allowed to enter the compound to avoid confrontation.

Key UDD leader Korkaew Pikulthong on Wednesday urged both red shirt and yellow shirt supporters to exercise restraint, saying they should live together despite their different ideologies and that such incidents could damage’s the country’s image.

Mr Korkaew also called on the UDD supporters to avoid any action which will adversely affect the country and the government, re-emphasisng that he did not agree with what happened on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the ruling party has instructed its MPs to create better understanding among their supporters.

“Any law violation will face legal action so that to avoid further violence and create the impression that the government could not control the situation.” he said.